FIBA World Cup

Serbia’s Bogdanovic on rout of USA-slayer Lithuania: ‘You cannot relax’

JR Isaga

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Serbia’s Bogdanovic on rout of USA-slayer Lithuania: ‘You cannot relax’

IN THE ZONE. Serbia captain Bogdan Bogdanovic reacts in the 2023 FIBA World Cup


NBA veteran Bogdan Bogdanovic keeps his shooting streak going straight to the FIBA World Cup knockout playoffs, as Serbia puts a quick and shocking end to Lithuania's dream run

MANILA, Philippines – Lithuania’s dream run in the 2023 FIBA World Cup ended in the blink of an eye on Tuesday, September 5, after fellow European powerhouse Serbia stunned it with an 87-68 knockout quarterfinal rout at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Coming off a red-hot 110-104 shocker of all-NBA USA to cap off the second round, the Lithuanians suddenly found themselves at the mercy of the Serbians, as their scorching shooting touch betrayed them when they needed it most while their foes just kept piling on the points.

Serbian captain Bogdan Bogdanovic knows that feeling all too well, as he has now produced two consecutive efficient shooting nights after going a horrific 1-of-13 from three in his team’s lone loss so far against Italy.

For the veteran NBA guard, the ebb and flow of games are simply too fickle to hold onto for too long.

“That’s how the tournament works. You cannot relax,” Bogdanovic said.

“We can celebrate this win, but as soon as the night is over, tomorrow we have to regroup, get ready, watch Canada-Slovenia, and get ready for the next opponent. That’s what I learned from previous experiences.”

Against Serbia, Lithuania only shot 43% from the field – a full 10% lower than its effort against the US – and 32% from three – 24% lower from the last game.

All in all, the Serbians played inspired basketball on both ends of the court to reach the semifinals. Bogdanovic, who scored 18 of his 21 points in the first half alone, credited injured teammate Borisa Samanic for inspiring the whole team despite recently losing his kidney to an elbow hit.

The road to the World Cup gold doesn’t get any easier for Serbia as either Canada or Slovenia await in the knockout semifinal – a stage that the program hasn’t reached since taking silver in 2014.

Bogdanovic, however, is sticking to the old adage of one game at a time, no matter how high the stakes get.

“It’s really important for us athletes first and then for our country,” he continued. “You know how much we love the game of basketball, so I’m just happy we’re there. We’re ready to compete more.” –

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